SCAMMERS are continuing to target people in new ways, with victims now being asked to buy gold to hand to a courier working for the police.
Last week an elderly woman in West Wales fell victim to courier fraud after being conned into believing she was working with police to prevent fraud. She was tricked into buying £25,000 of gold and handing it over to scammers.
DC Gareth Jordan, from Dyfed-Powys Police’s cybercrime team, said the recent crimes had seen victims called by someone purporting to be a police officer from Paddington Police Station.
DC Jordan added: “The fake police officer tells them about fraudulent activity on the persons bank card, or tells them that they need to transfer money to another account due to suspicious activity.
“It is the prelude to courier fraud, where someone comes to pick up the bank card, after extracting all the details such as PIN from the victim, or getting the person to go to the bank to withdraw money that can then be collected or sometimes transferred into other accounts.”
Since October the force has received complaints of 62 courier fraud calls. Thankfully 52 of the potential victims realised it was fraud, with a further five prevented when the bank intervened.
Sadly, five people fell victim to the criminals – two handed over gold, while three gave cash.
Their total losses were £63,000.
“We are working to make bank staff to look for the tell-tale signs of this, and contacting their branch managers to ensure staff are aware,” said DC Jordan.
“We are asking PCSOs to visit banks that are open on their patch and ask bank staff to inform any customers withdrawing money or transferring money about this scam.
“This scam is often aimed at the older generation, who have a respect for the police and may fall for the story that much more readily.
“What is worrying is that it can be just the start of further fraudulent activity including phoning the victim up stating they are the bank and getting the victim to transfer money to another account in the deceitful belief that their own account is now at risk due to fraudulent bank card use. The third part is investment fraud and gold purchases.”
The three phases of courier fraud
The scam begins with a person, usually male, phones the victim pretending to be a police officer. The bogus police officer explains that the victim’s bank accounts are under threat from fraudsters.
He convinces the victim to participate in a fictitious undercover police operation to catch the fraudsters and safeguard their funds.
They are told not to inform anyone, including their bank, as bank staff are equally under suspicion. Often the bogus police officer discloses private financial information about the victim, which is used to encourage the victim to trust them.
First phase: To influence the victim, the suspect asks about his/her bank account balances and overdraft facilities in place. The victim is then instructed to withdraw a small amount of cash (depending on victim’s bank balance). Victim is instructed to hand over the cash to a courier who must confirm a password/pin number provided by the suspect. Victim is later called on the phone and told most of the cash was identified as counterfeit.
Second phase: Once the victim trusts and believes the suspects’ instructions, he/she is provided with several bank account numbers (mule accounts). Victim is instructed to move a large amount of their money (often £100,000 to £300,000) into what is purported to be “safe” accounts, which are actually the mule accounts. Often the holders of the beneficiary accounts are third parties (patsy) who are unaware of the sources of the credit in their account. The money is quickly dissipated from the beneficiary accounts into accounts outside UK jurisdiction. Monies in the beneficiary account may simply be withdrawn from any UK ATM.
Third phase: Victims are instructed to either buy gold bars or high-valued watches. Again these items are handed to a courier who confirms a password given to the victim over the phone by the suspect.
DC Jordan said the order of the phases changes from victim to victim.
He said: “The suspects invest a considerable amount of time and effort in building a rapport with the victim.
“They usually instruct the victim not to divulge any details to anyone because the ‘operation’ must remain covert. Victims are coached with a cover story for bank staff, if their transactions (unusual) are flagged by the banks safety measures.”
Please remember – and tell others . . .
- The police, or your bank, will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to a different account.
- Your bank will never send a courier to your home
- Your bank and the police will never collect your bank card
- Your bank and the police will never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN
- If you receive one of these calls, end it immediately
- Do not click on links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious texts or emails.
- Confirm requests are genuine by using a known number or email address to contact organisations directly.
If you think you, or someone you know, may have been targeted by scammers, please report it to us online:
https://www.dyfed-powys.police.uk/en/contact-us/report-an-incident/, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101.
Always call 999 if you feel you are in immediate harm or danger.
UK Budget must take crucial steps to help recovery
LLANELLI Labour representatives are urging the UK Government to take the necessary steps to begin recovery and secure prosperity across all parts of the UK.
Llanelli’s MP Nia Griffith and MS Lee Waters set out Wales’ priorities ahead of the UK Budget on Wednesday March 3 2021.
They are urging the UK Government to make a series of commitments to Wales, including:
• sustaining UK-wide business support
• delivering welfare and taxation measures to support the most vulnerable
• redressing the historical under investment in Wales on research and development and rail infrastructure
• providing an injection of funding to support the transition to Net Zero carbon emissions
• providing guarantees for Wales’ specific funding pressures
Speaking ahead of the UK Budget announcement, Nia Griffith MP reiterated her calls for continued business support for those on the lowest of incomes. She said:
“It is vital that the Job Retention Scheme and Self Employed Income Support Scheme are retained – not threatened with being removed at the eleventh hour and putting livelihoods at risk. A delay to repayments should also be introduced for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme with recognition given to the self-employed who are facing deferred bills.”
“It is also vital that the £20 per week increase to Universal Credit is maintained and put on a permanent basis, making it available to people in receipt of legacy means-tested benefits. More than 300,000 families in Wales have benefitted from an extra £1,000 a year as a result of the uplift and removing this now would have a detrimental and long-lasting effect on thousands of households across Wales.”
Lee Waters MS said:
“The UK Government should continue to take advantage of historically low interest rates to invest in Wales’ infrastructure and public services. Particularly on rail, where we have been underfunded to the tune of billions since the start of devolution, this is the moment where Rishi Sunak can demonstrate his commitment to ‘levelling up’ all four nations of the UK.”
“This budget is a chance to hardwire a greener, fairer way of doing things into our recovery from Coronavirus. We are ambitious about our target of being Net Zero carbon by 2050, and averting the climate crisis which is increasingly affecting Wales through flooding. But to make that transition, we need a step change from the UK Government’s budget that allows us to invest in renewable energy and green jobs.”
Search for Susan Smith continues
THE search for missing Susan Smith is now in it’s third day. She was last seen on Saturday (Feb 27), walking in the Kidwelly area.
Speaking to The Herald, a police spokesperson said: “We are continuing to search for Susan Smith who has been reported missing.”
“The search is continuing today with specialist police officers making house to house enquiries in the Kidwelly, St Ishamels, Ferryside and surrounding areas.
Sergeant Fiona Phillips said: “It is important that we build a picture of Susan’s movements after she was last seen on Saturday and I would appeal to anyone who believes they may have seen her to contact police.”
Susan was last seen 1.30pm Saturday, February 27 2021, walking in the Carmarthen Bay Holiday Village, Kidwelly area. She is known to walk along the beach to St Ishmaels and Ferryside.
She is described as approximately 5ft2 inches tall, petite with shoulder length blonde hair and believed to be wearing black jeans, a black fleece type jacket and navy and grey walking boots.
Any who has seen Susan or anyone who may have information that could help the search is asked to contact Dyfed-Powys Police, quoting reference 285 of Saturday 27th February.
Police can be contacted either online at bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing email@example.com, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908
Isla to read 20 books in 20 days for lifesaving charity
A Bancyfelin bookworm has so-far raised over £300 for the Wales Air Ambulance in her first-ever fundraiser for charity.
Six-year-old Isla Wilson is taking part in the Charity’s My20 challenge and has chosen to read 20 books in 20 days during March.
The Wales Air Ambulance celebrates its 20th anniversary on March 1 and to acknowledge the milestone, the Charity has created a new fundraising event called My20. My20 allows the participant to set themselves a challenge, task or activity that relates to the number ’20’ which they will complete during March.
The Ysgol Bancyfelin pupil loves reading books to her younger sister, Ailish, 4 and has chosen a range of books to read in Welsh and English.
Some of the books that Isla has chosen to read include – The Elves and the Shoemaker, Peter Rabbit, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Chicken Lickin’ and Rapunzel.
Isla set herself the target of raising £50 and has already smashed that figure by raising £330 for the lifesaving Charity – even before her fundraiser has started.
Isla has received a lot of support from her friends, family and her school. The little bookworm has also been reading books virtually to family and friends in preparation.
Speaking about why she is raising money for the charity’s 24/7 service, Isla said: “I want to help keep the air ambulance awake all night. They help lots of people.”
Her dad, Tom Wilson, said: “We’re proud of Isla for wanting to raise money for the air ambulance. Isla and her sister have always enjoyed seeing the air ambulance in the air, but it wasn’t until recently that she understood the significance of the work the medics do. We’re are shocked she has raised over £300 already, especially as it’s her first fundraiser. We’re looking forward to listening to her reading throughout the challenge.”
Katie Macro, the Charity’s South West Wales Community Fundraiser, said: “It’s wonderful how Isla, at such a young age, understands the important work of the Wales Air Ambulance. It’s clear that she wants to take part in My20 because it helps those in need, showing her compassion and thought for others. We hope that people recognise this and donate to her fundraiser, which many already have.
“Thank you so much for supporting us, Isla. Every penny you raise will help people who need us. That makes you a lifesaver.”
You can show your support to Isla by sponsoring her via her Just Giving page – Isla’s Fy20 / My20 www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lisa-lewis51
For more information on the #MY20 challenge visit www.walesairambulance.com.
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